I still can't believe it. We found a great social worker who made the whole process very easy for us. The in-house meeting was very quick and to the point, and all she wanted to see were the common living areas and the room that would be the baby's room. Oh well...at least our master bedroom is clean & neat now. I'm trying to keep it up. We had already prepared answers to some of the questions we knew would come up, such as "how do you resolve conflicts between yourselves" (our answer: well, we discuss things and each other viewpoints and resolve them thru discussion - we left out the things like throwing beer bottles and shouting matches JUST KIDDING!), and "how do you plan to integrate Chinese culture into your lives?" (our answer: well, we've joined Familes with Children from China, are reading a lot about China, and plan to learn more, etc, etc).
And then she asked (are you ready for this?): Is there such a thing as a kosher Chinese food restaurant (in a tone indicating that she was expecting a no)?
When my husband and I picked ourselves up off the floor, as we were laughing too hard to stay in our chairs, we explained that in Jewish neighborhoods, first is the pizza store, and then there is the Chinese restaurant or takeout place. And we have three within driving distance of our house. And we know that sushi is Japanese, not Chinese, but they serve it anyways. She was QUITE happy with this answer. I also explained that my father was always into all styles of cooking, some of it Chinese, and that I grew up with a wok in the house, and didn't know how to cook rice without it when I got married and didn't have one. But my mother had recently given me her extra wok. And that my husband had bought me the aforementioned China, The Beautiful Cookbook, which I am planning to utilize. Someday. Maybe when my dossier is complete.
You definitely want a social worker who has a lot of experience in writing China homestudies. She knows what should and shouldn't go into the homestudy. As long as our criminal and abuse checks go thru ok, we should be fine. She even emailed us a draft the SAME DAY. Unbelievable.
So...we're getting our fingerprints done on Purim*, as we're both off that day and have time to go to the police station. Can you believe that we can only go to our local police station from 10am-2pm on a weekday? We would usually have to take off from work to take care of them. My sister who is currently living with us did her fingerprints last Friday. When the officer heard why she had to get her fingerprints done, he was very helpful, and also said that he knew of two other couples in our village who had adopted from China! I haven't met them yet. I think I'm going to have to drive around and stalk houses...just kidding.
Oh, and something interesting about the social worker. We mentioned to her that we knew of two other Orthodox families in the area who had adopted from China, and we knew their names, but we couldn't find them. Our mutual acquaintances lost their phone number, and they're unlisted! It turns out that she did the homestudy for one of the couples, and told us where they moved to. We, ahem, have since Googled them and found them...but she's going to call them first and see whether we have permission to contact them. She's on vacation right now though, so I can't ask her whether she's contacted them. I think they may have even used our agency, so that would be the experience with Sabbath observant Jews that they've had. So...if you think that you may be this family...can you please contact us? We'd love to talk (and drool enviously over your daughter...I'm sure you won't mind)!
* Purim websites (they can explain it better than I can):
Yes, it involves alcohol, partying, costumes and a lot of food. Fun times.
But if you're yearning for children...it's quite stressful. Plus I accompany my husband to deliver Shalach Manos to certain important individuals who have been important in our lives, and I STILL GET THE STOMACH SCAN. You know, the "Hm, I wonder if she's pregnant, let me look at her stomach" look. Yo. I've been married ten years and I haven't been pregnant. EVER. My stomach is it's own fatty self. LEAVE ME ALONE.
I also find myself going to megilla readings that do not have a lot of children attending, as it's so, so difficult to see cute little kids in costumes...and me wanting one too....And with the way referral are going lately, it is quite likely that a)I will be in China RIGHT NOW this time next year or b)I'll still be waiting for my referral. So I may have to be tortured next Purim too...but I'll be closer to having one of my own to dress up in a costume. But she will not be dressed as an Asian girl costume. EVER.